Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is Common in Winter Months

Furnaces, fireplaces and other heating elements can produce carbon monoxide if not properly ventilated. If you find yourself using something other than your furnace to heat the area you’re in, make sure there is at least a crack in the door or windows of the room or car you’re in.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include: dizziness, headache, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, difficulty breathing and chest pain.

Unfortunately, the cherry red skin color that we’re all taught to look for is often a symptom that occurs so late that the carbon monoxide exposure is already dire.

Take some pro-active steps to ensure your home is safe. Install carbon monoxide detectors along with your smoke detectors.

If you’re in a cabin or other remote location, a stand-alone carbon monixide detector should be among your gear.

And if you find yourself stuck in a car and need to keep the engine running for heat, leave a window cracked, and get out every so often to make sure the tail pipe has not become covered in snow.

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Dealing with Injuries Related to the Cold Weather

Frostnip is the mildest of cold-related injuries but should still be taken seriously. Typically it affects any skin that remains uncovered for a period of time in cold temperatures. You may find you have a pale appearance, burning, itching, pain, tingling or numbness in your face, ears, toes and fingers. Rewarming the affected areas is often sufficient with no permanent damage to the skin.

Frostbite is more serious, and occurs with prolonged exposure to cold temperatures.
While you may feel the same symptoms as frostnip, the skin and underlying tissues are freezing and need attention. Frostbite symptoms may also include blisters, firm-feeling skin, a loss of sensation in the area, and changes in color from red and cold, to pale yellow, to grey or black. Everything beyond red and cold may require medical attention.

Hypothermia is a severe cold-weather injury with symptoms that can include confusion, memory loss, drowsiness, slurred speech, exhaustion and death. Anyone who is suspected of suffering from hypothermia should seek medical attention immediately.

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Don’t Fire Up the Fireplace Unless It has been Cleaned

As tempting as it may be to end your holidays next to a warm, inviting fire, don’t assume that your chimney is clean because it hasn’t been used since last Christmas.

Make sure the flu opens and shuts properly. A closed flu or one that slips closed will fill your house with smoke. Even small amount of chimney buildup can allow carbon monoxide to enter the house.

Keep a good carbon monoxide detector close to the fireplace. Better an obnoxious alarm sounds than not if there is carbon monoxide in the air.
If everyone feels sleepy suddenly, or gets a headache get everyone out of doors immediately and call 911.

It may not be the best idea to act as your own chimney sweep. Hire someone who is comfortable around roofs, ladders and chimneys.

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Don’t Hold Your Breath While You Stretch

Your muscles need oxygen throughout the stretch so take good deep, slow breaths as you stretch. Holding your breath can also raise blood pressure. Simple stretches such as shoulder rolls don’t require that you hold them, but other stretches such as quadriceps stretches should be held for at least 20 seconds. 60 seconds is even better.
Remember to breathe throughout the stretch.

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Don’t Stretch When Your Muscles are Cold

Cold muscles are tight and don’t have much stretch in them. Instead, warm up for five minutes or more before you stretch any muscle that you hold. A little light running, a few minutes warming up in the sun, or even a warm bath will be enough to get your muscles moving and active before you stretch.

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Balance Your Exercise with Your Stretches

If you lift weights, for example, and you push weights that cause your shoulders to roll forward, then you should balance that exercise with a stretch that stretches your shoulders backward.

The general rule is, to to the front as you would do to the back, and do to the left as you would do to the right.

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